A Study of Two Marital Enrichment Programs and Couples' Quality of Life

Volume 31
Fall 2003
A Study of Two Marital Enrichment Programs and Couples' Quality of Life

The need for empirical research that contributes to the prevention and arrest of marital distress is increasing. Factors identified through research as being influential in the stability of marriage include intimacy, positive behaviors, social support, good communication, and conflict management. Although a variety of marital enrichment programs that address these same factors do exist, this current study addresses two particular marital enrichment programs: Hope-Focused, and Forgiveness and Reconciliation through Experiencing Empathy (FREE). Couples volunteered to participate in a study of newly married couples (5 months or less) and were then divided into three groups. Two of these groups received approximately 9 hours of marital enrichment and the third group was designated as a control group. The impact of these programs on the couples' quality of life, as determined by the Quality of Life Inventory (QOLI®), was examined. Quality of life was found to significantly improve with the administration of a hope-focused marital enrichment program. It approached significance in couples who participated in a forgiveness-based program. In addition, levels of religious commitment and the individual's disposition to forgive are also studied in their relation to overall quality of life. Implications of this study include the application of brief marital enrichment as a preventive measure that could be both cost- and time-conserving. Furthermore, the use of forgiveness training in the therapeutic settings may be beneficial and contribute to individuals' well-being.

Dr. G.A. Burchard, Dr. M.A. Yarhouse, Dr. M.K. Kilian, Dr. E.L., Jr. Worthington, Dr. J.W. Berry and D.E. Canter
240 - 252
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